Ryan Wigley wakes up every morning and decides whether he wants to present himself as male or female that day.
The bi-gender 22-year-old from Kent said that half the time he feels like a woman – Ria; the other half, he feels totally male, on which days he is Ryan.
Sometimes, he even gets the urge to shift gender during the day. To accommodate his different moods, he has a full closet of both female and male clothing.
The term “bi-gender” is recognized by psychologists and was coined by the transgender community.
“It’s so confusing,” Wigley said. “I have to guess which gender I’ll be the following morning so I can plan my day.”
If he anticipates feeling “more feminine,” he sets his alarm earlier to make sure he has time to get ready. If, however, he feels like a girl several days in a row, Wigley says the upkeep can be hard.
“I need to shave my face, chest and legs every day, wash my hair and keep my make-up in place,” Wigley said, who added that he prefers “to be female but I’m much more relaxed in what I look like when I feel like a man.”
Ryan said he is attracted to women, but notes that previous partners have struggled to deal with his two sides.
Last September, he was introduced to his current girlfriend, 18-year-old Krystal Griggs. They met at a party on a night when Wigley was Ryan, and Krystal added him on Facebook.
“One day he commented on a status using his Ria profile, and I recognized her as Ryan,” Krystal said. “At first I thought it was just cross-dressing. I’d never heard of bi-gender."
The couple started dating in August of this year. Krystal told Ryan that she “honestly didn’t care” about his bi-gender identity, and that “it’s what’s inside that counts.”
Ryan recalls first having the impulse to wear his mother’s clothes at age 13.
“I felt so much guilt but soon I was sneaking into my sister’s room. I knew what she didn’t wear in her wardrobe so I could take dresses without her noticing.”
He first opened up to his girlfriend about his secret at age 16, and remembers that she “spoke about it like it was a problem that needed to be dealt with.”
It wasn’t until he left home at age 18 that he was able to dress how he wanted, although his cross-dressing still occurred in secret. One day, Googling the term “bi-gender,” he realized that “there were so many people echoing how I’d felt for years. It was a revelation. I didn’t know it was a real thing,” he said.
In January of 2013, he revealed to a group of close friends the beginning of his secret: “First I told them I was a cross-dresser, because I hadn’t got my head around the whole bigender thing,” he recalls.
His friends, Ryan recalls, weren’t fazed: “In fact, they were more surprised when they discovered I was left-handed.” Later, when he told his friends that he switches between male and female, his friends were “fine with it.”
In July, Ryan sat his parents down and told them the truth of his identity. Ryan says that “they don’t mind it but we don’t talk about it.”
Krystal, for her part, has found her relationship with Ryan to be the perfect mix.
“I treat Ria like a princess,” Krystal said. “Usually with a guy and girl relationship, the guy treats the girl, but we can treat each other. It’s a more fulfilling relationship.”
“He definitely has two personas,” Krystal added. “I can tell straight away whether it’s Ryan or Ria with me; there’s different mannerisms.”